12 Donburi (Japanese Rice Bowls) Recipes

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  • Recipes Roundup: Here’s a scrumptious selection of Japanese donburi (rice bowl) recipes to make on your busy weeknight!

    Chicken katsu donburi in the bowl.

    Donburi rice bowls are the quintessential Japanese comfort meal. “Don 丼” refers to the bowl that the dish is served in, so for a typical donburi, you get a bowl of fluffy steamed rice with toppings such as vegetables and meat or seafood all in one meal.

    In Japan, you can even find fast food chains specialize in donburi where you make your order and payment through a vending machine before picking up at the serving counter. Fulfilling and super convenient, it’s no wonder why they are a popular choice of quick meal amongst the office workers.

    For me, the concept of donburi is nothing short of genius. From the grains and protein, to the veggies and sauce, the wholesome components of a rice bowl makes it ideal to cook at home.  Because they are weeknight-friendly, I often include donburi in my meal plan for the family. My favorite part? Its flexible template for using up seasonal and leftover ingredients.

    If you like the idea of delicious rice bowls, here are some of the popular donburi recipes you can throw together anytime of the week.

    12 Popular Donburi Recipes You Must Try at Home

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    Gyudon with red ginger pickled in the bowl.

    1. Gyudon (Beef Bowl) 牛丼

    Thinly sliced beef simmered with onion in a savory-sweet sauce, Gyudon (beef bowl) is probably one of the most popular types of donburi in Japan. You’ll love how easy it is to cook at home. I like to top it off with a beaten egg for extra protein and garnish with some pickles and chopped scallion for colors and freshness. 

    Chicken Katsu Don | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    2. Chicken Katsudon チキンカツ丼

    Chicken Katsudon (Chicken Cutlet Rice Bowl) features crispy chicken katsu that has been simmered in savory dashi sauce with thinly sliced onion and a scrambled egg. My recipe teaches you how to shallow fry the chicken cutlet, so it’s less messy and less oily to cook at home.

    Tempura Donburi in the bowl and sauce on the wooden table.

    3. Ten Don (Tempura Donburi) 天丼

    Golden crispy shrimp and vegetable tempura served over steamed rice and drizzled with tentsuyu (tempura dipping sauce), this ten don recipe is a real treat for a special Saturday night dinner. For a complete meal, enjoy with a bowl of miso soup and a side of refreshing salad.

    Mapo Tofu with Japanese white rice in the bowl.

    4. Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐

    Silken tofu with ground pork mixture cooked in an intensely flavorful sauce and served in rice bowl style, this Japanese Mapo Tofu recipe will not disappoint when you crave for something bold for dinner. It’s milder and less spicy than the Sichuan-style Mapo Tofu so children can enjoy.

    Soboro Don in bowls on the wooden table.

    5. Soboro Don (Ground Chicken Bowl) 三色そぼろ丼

    Soboro Don (Minced Chicken & Egg on Rice) is colorful, nutritious and easy to pull together. If you have little kids at home, this is the kind of recipe you want to keep in your back pocket. I call it the ‘happy meal’ for my children.

    Salmon and Ikura donburi in the bowl.

    6. Salmon Ikura Don 鮭いくら丼

    This Salmon Ikura Don recipe features raw fish but served in a casual donburi style, which is perfect for Japanese home cooking. If you cook the rice in advance, 15 minutes is all you need to assemble the rice bowl together.

    Oyakodon and miso soup on the tray.

    7. Oyakodon (Chicken and Egg Bowl) 親子丼

    Oyakodon literally means “parent-and-child rice bowl” in English. A play on the chicken-and-egg combination, this protein-filled home style dish wins for its simplicity. It’s hearty yet nutritious, making it a favorite meal to start the week.

    Niratama Donburi in the white plate.

    8. Niratama Donburi ニラ玉丼ぶり

    Soft fluffy egg stir fry with garlic chives served over hot rice, Niratama Danburi is homey and extra comforting. The distinctive flavor of garlic chives defines the simple dish. You can find the deep green, flat-shaped garlic chives (also known as Chinese chives) at your local Asian grocery stores or Asian produce markets.

    Unagi Don in bowls on wooden table.

    9. Unadon (Grilled Eel Rice Bowl) 鰻丼

    Unagi is a specialty in Japanese cuisine. The delicious combination of warm rice and sweet caramelized sauce over the perfectly grilled unagi is simply irresistible. To make Unagi Don at home, you can buy pre-grilled unagi or the ones that are grilled and vacuum-packed for a minimal effort.

    Poke Bowl in the white bowl.

    10. Poke Bowl

    A Hawaii’s soul food, we have seen an explosion of popularity of poke across the US. This raw fish salad in a bowl is heavily influenced by Japanese cuisine. My version of poke is very easy make and you can adapt the toppings to your preference. It’s so good that you want to make it over and over again.

    Yoshinoya Beef Bowl with red ginger pickles in the bowl.

    11. Yoshinoya Beef Bowl

    Savory and juicy sliced beef served over steamed rice, this delicious Yoshinoya Beef Bowl is a weeknight meal keeper. It consists of a bowl of steamed rice topped with thinly sliced beef and tender onion, simmered in a sweet and savory dashi broth seasoned with soy sauce and mirin.

    Baked Katsudon in the bowl and miso soup.

    12. Baked Katsudon 揚げないカツ丼

    Juicy deep-fried pork cutlet and runny egg cooked in a savory and sweet dashi broth and placed over hot steamed rice, this Baked Katsudon recipe will be your new favorite weeknight meal!

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    More Donburi Recipes?

    I hope you enjoy making these delicious donburi rice bowls recipes at home. If you are looking for more donburi and other rice recipes, click here to get inspiration!  Thank you so much for reading and till next time!

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